Potomac Conservancy MD & DC Policy Director
The deceptive yet catchy moniker, “the rain tax,” just won’t go away.
With a split Executive Office and General Assembly in Maryland and a new Governor who ran his campaign on the “rain tax” misnomer, we are in for another challenging legislative session defending Maryland’s right to clean water.
Enacted in 2012, Maryland’s polluted runoff law will reduce stormwater pollution and make our waters swimmable and fishable. But, politically motivated opponents of the clean water legislation are threatening to weaken or repeal the law.
If we don’t take a stand to protect our right to clean water, our vision of safe local streams, a healthy Potomac River, and a restored Chesapeake Bay will slip further out of reach.
Polluted runoff makes our waterways unsafe for swimming, destroys native species habitat and causes localized flooding and property damage.
Polluted runoff is the only growing source of pollution to these waterways that directly impacts public health, recreation tourism, and local quality of life. The streams and rivers in Maryland that flow to the Potomac River contribute to the drinking water supply of over five million area residents.
Taking a significant step to combat polluted runoff, Maryland’s General Assembly worked with the public and county officials to pass the Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program. The 2012 legislation requires the nine most populated counties and Baltimore City to establish a local dedicated fund to restore and protect their waterways from polluted runoff.
Counties collect fees from landowners with impervious cover like driveways and sidewalks that collect polluted runoff. The local dedicated fund pays for on-the-ground projects within the community including restoring stream banks, repairing aging sewer lines, building green streets to capture runoff, and leading litter control programs.
Help Potomac Conservancy and our partners like the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Blue Water Baltimore by raising your voice for clean water in Maryland!
You can also contact your Maryland General Assembly representatives, and tell them to protect the Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program. Find your elected leaders here >
We’re only just beginning efforts to defend the polluted runoff law in 2015. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to hold your state leaders accountable for clean water leadership!